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Ex-Sen. Bob Smith to run again in N.H.; Scott Brown drops ‘MA’ from Twitter handle

Former senator Bob Smith (R-N.H.) will attempt another return to the U.S. Senate in 2014, this time for his old seat in the state he formerly represented.

Smith will run for the GOP nomination to face Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). He lost a 2002 primary to Sen. John Sununu (R) and later launched two Senate campaigns in Florida which failed to get any traction. He ended both before the primary.

From WMUR-TV's James Pindell:

Smith told WMUR Political Scoop on Sunday that he had made a decision not to run largely to get out of the way for other candidates, but as weeks came and went no major candidates got into the race, and he kept getting encouragement to run.

"I have a decision to run again for the Senate," said Smith. "This is nothing personally against Jeanne Shaheen, who I like as a person, but I couldn't disagree more with her politics."

He said he will file paperwork to form his campaign committee in the next few days, and move full-time to New Hampshire and formally launch his campaign in January. Currently he is a Florida resident, but spends his summers at his home in Tuftonboro.

Smith is the third Republican to announce a bid to run against Shaheen. Former state Sen. Jim Rubens, R-Hanover, and conservative activist Karen Testerman, R-Franklin, are already in the race, but Republicans fear they might be weak challengers and have been looking for someone else.

Smith briefly left the Republican Party in 2000 to seek a third-party nomination for president. He lost his 2002 primary after rejoining the GOP.

Sununu defeated Shaheen for the seat in 2002, but Shaheen won the rematch in 2008.

The big question in the New Hampshire Senate race, of course, is whether another former senator who recently ran in another state will switch to the Granite State. Former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown over the holiday dropped the "MA" from his Twitter account. It had been @ScottBrownMA and is now just @SenScottBrown.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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